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Saez to Ride Wildcat Red in FOY

Wildcat Red will have a new rider when he makes his next start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22.            

Trainer Jose Garoffalo has lined up Luis Saez to ride Wildcat Red, an impressive 4 ¾-length winner of the $200,000 Hutcheson (G3) on Feb. 1 under Javier Castellano. The 2013 Eclipse Award winner and two-time defending meet champion, Castellano is committed to ride Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod in the Fountain of Youth.            

“I think Luis Saez is the right guy to put on,” Garoffalo said. “We get along very well and he’s won a lot of races for me, here and at Calder, so let’s do it. Let’s run.”            

Saez, 21, is second in the current meet standings with 48 wins, one ahead of Paco Lopez and 27 behind Castellano. Among his wins are Cairo Prince in the Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25, Falling Sky in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G2) on Feb. 8, and Lea in the Hal’s Hope (G3) on Jan. 11.            

“He can compete with all the big guys,” Garoffalo said. “He’s been there before. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s young, but he’s tough. He knows what to do.”            

Owned by Honors Stable Corp., Wildcat Red put in his final tuneup for the Fountain of Youth with a half-mile breeze Friday morning over Gulfstream’s main track under regular exercise rider Paco Mendoza.            

“He went four furlongs in :49 and change (:49.02) very easily and handled the workout very good, so we’re ready for the race. I’m very happy with him,” Garoffalo said. “Actually, I would say he was better than before the Hutcheson. He has improved a lot since the last race. Everything looks like he’s going to be ready for the Fountain of Youth.”            

From here, Garoffalo said he will give Wildcat Red, a son of Grade 1-winning sprinter D’wildcat, routine gallops leading up to the race.            

“He’s in good shape. He doesn’t need to do too much,” he said. “He’s very athletic. I try not to stress him too much because he doesn’t need much. With this workout, he’ll be ready.”  


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